Sprained my Wrist, But I Can Still Use the Internets
July 6, 2006 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Wrist Injury Filter: I sprained my wrist. Help me find an appropriate wrap or treatment.

I think I've severely sprained my right wrist doing, of all things, painting the inside of a house. I think I was just gripping the paint roller super-tight and using it for several days and something went funky. At least nothing went "sprong!" It was just stiff and hurting the next day and never stopped. This was approximately 8 weeks ago.

There's never been swelling or discoloration. But I have significantly reduced range of motion and pain when flexing the wrist in every direction or when gripping something tightly (e.g. I cannot open a jar of pickles). I can type and use a mouse just fine, obviously. Advil helps, but not super-well.

Counter-intuitively, putting a tight wrap on the wrist seems to aggravate the injury -- the wrist stiffens even more, so taking the wrap off (e.g. to shower) is intially painful while things loosen up.

* I know many of you will say "see a doctor." You are probably correct. I do not think anything is broken, but I could have a partial tear. I'm concerned that a doctor would merely cast the wrist and fingers for several weeks, and then I'm screwed work-wise and family-wise (although I could be healed). I would like to self-treat this a little while longer, if possible.
* Are there other experiences of having sprains lasting this long?
* Why is wrapping the wrist not working? Am I doing something wrong by wrapping it tightly?
* Are there super-good wrap and/or splint brands you've used?
* Finally, this is not keyboard-induced RSI or carpal tunnel. I've never had that problem and the wrist starting hurting only after the painting incident.
posted by frogan to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
IANAD, but in my experience, if there's no swelling, there's no sprain.

You've obviously injured yourself somehow, though, and you seem to know that you ought to go to the doctor. If you're concerned about what your internist will do, go to an orthopaedist. Also remember that the doctor can't give you any treatment without your approval.
posted by cerebus19 at 12:17 PM on July 6, 2006

IANAD either, but it sounds like you're treating the symptoms and not the cause. Are you risking making a temporary injury into a chronic condition by delaying effective treatment?
posted by Cranberry at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2006

In future, you can strengthen your wrist muscles -- and hopefully avoid sprains -- with this exercise that I got from "Weight Training for Dummies":

Get a 3-pound or 5-pound weight. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your lower right arm on your right thigh, with your palms facing up and just enough room to move your hand up and down. Hold your right arm in place with your left hand to stabilize it. Lift and lower the weight by raising and lowering your hand, flexing your wrist. Try six sets of 10 reps several times a week, never two days in a row.

You probably don't want to start doing this while you're sprained, however.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:00 PM on July 6, 2006

That it's not keyboard-induced RSI doesn't mean it's not an RSI.

But, yeah, see a doctor.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:21 PM on July 6, 2006

Sounds like tendonitis to me. Treatment is typically a rigid brace that doesn't let you bend your wrist but does let you use your fingers. To be worn for at least 2 weeks, night and day and then only during the day for another 2-3 weeks.

If it is tendonitis (does your wrist creak at all when you flex it? that's a bad sign) and you ignore it long enough you run the risk of being unable to so much as lift a sheet of paper and having an irate doctor slap you into a real cast and then refuse to take it off for 6 weeks. Which sucks. It'll also be frustratingly easy to reinjure for. ever.
posted by fshgrl at 6:03 PM on July 6, 2006

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